WA To Regulate Prepaid Funerals

Planning and paying for a funeral before the tragedy and reality of death strikes is solid advice, one echoed by funeral service providers everywhere. As such, the prepaid funeral market has grown quite a bit, especially in Australia, where it is now a $140M business sector.

Recognizing the importance of this sector, the Western Australia State Government has decided that the sector’s financials cannot be left at risk, and decided that regulations for its prepaid funeral sector are to be implemented as soon as possible, meaning that funeral directors in Perth that offer prepaid services will now be monitored by the WA State Government. This news was revealed by the state government sometime late June.

According to Mick Murray, Seniors and Ageing Minister for the state of Western Australia, the prepaid funeral sector was a bit of a blind spot, with some potential in the industry to take advantage of the more vulnerable consumer base, such as seniors.

This announcement was notable due to the fact that, until it was made, WA was the only State in Australia that had no regulations that handled prepaid funerals.

The State Government is currently working on developing the mandatory code of practice as an addendum to the Fair Trading Act of Australia, and, if schedule is to hold, it will be set to be open for consultations sometime later in the year.

The news has made headlines across the state, with some funeral companies and directors looking to it as an improvement, such as Bowra & O’Dea’s Bernadine Brierty, who says that it is a good thing that standards are now being set for the operation of prepaid funerals.

Brierty states that prepaid funerals, which reduce the number of decisions involved with the whole funeral process, provide both the purchaser and the bereaved emotional benefits, on top of ensuring financial certainty for those involved.

Currently, WA has no government regulations that handle funeral directors that offer prepaid funeral services. Instead, consumer rights regarding prepaid funerals are protected by the Australian Funeral Directors Association, which has their own set of standards for prepaid funerals, and which obligates funeral directors to comply with inquiries into their prepaid funeral services.